The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ghana, has called for enhanced collaboration from all stakeholders, to support quality healthcare delivery, psychosocial and economic empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalised women and girls.
Mr Niyi Ojuolape, the Country Representative of the UNFPA, made the call at the inaugural meeting of the ‘Friends of UNFPA’ in Accra, to identify its ‘Friends’ and solicit more support to achieve its three transformative goals of achieving “zero unmet needs for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths, zero gender-based violence and harmful practices,” against women and girls, especially.
He said though the Agency was doing a lot to create the enabling environment for women and girls to develop, the task was too huge to be accomplished by a single institution, hence the call for support from all.
Mr Ojuolape said “aligning efforts will produce synergies,” for addressing the present challenges confronting especially, the youth of the country.
In a presentation on the life-saving work of the Agency, he said over the years, the UNFPA was working to complement Ghana’s efforts at improved healthcare, education and economic growth of disadvantaged and marginalised groups.
Mr Ojuolape highlighted support services such as ensuring comprehensive family planning and contraceptive needs for all adolescents who may require them; improved maternal healthcare including; free obstetric fistula repairs; as well as humanitarian assistance in the form of providing homeless women and girls in the city, with shelter, food and dignity kits.
He said the UNFPA also assigned a large number of females unto various vocational training programmes to empower them to become self-reliant, to prevent them from becoming victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and to stop unwanted pregnancies.
Mr Ojuolape recounted how the UNFPA partnered other stakeholders to intensify advocacy on some harmful traditional and cultural practices like the trokosi system (child slavery), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the witches camp at Gambaga, all, he said, disadvantaged women.
The Country Representative, however, said the gains, if not urgently sustained, could be affected due to the unexpected global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had not spared Ghana of its huge socio-economic and health impact.
Mr Ojuolape said there was currently, dwindling funding, due to urgent health needs and impact of COVID-19, hence the need to solicit wider partnerships to sustain the gains made over the years.
He said since the outbreak of the pandemic, UNFPA’s had supported Government’s efforts in the provision of personal protective equipment for use by frontline health workers, providing food items, dignity kits and shelter on sustained periods to disadvantaged women and girls in parts of Accra and supporting persons at isolation centres with basic relief items.
Other activities included; an E-Workshop on Sexual and Reproductive Health for persons living with autism, as well as ensuring the reactivation of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Units (DOVVSU).
Ms Claudia Lumor, the Honorary Ambassador of the UNFPA, and the convener of the inaugural meeting of the ‘Friends,’ underscored the need to “expand our collaborative efforts,” towards the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the UN Agency’s objective of “delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”
She indicated that though the needs of women and girls differed in unique ways, it was believed that uniting in resources, the goals would be achieved, and thanked members of the ‘Friends of UNFPA,’ for the continuous support since December 2019 and called for more support.
Nii Ahene Nunoo III, the Abola Mantse, and Chief Advisor to the Ga Mantse, pledged the commitment of all traditional leaders in the Ga State to champion the human rights of women and girls to ensure they reached their full potentials.